Splash Mountain is one of the most iconic attractions found at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World. And it's a fan favorite that can help keep you cool on a hot summer day. And while that fact won't be changing anytime soon, what will be changing is literally everything else about the popular attraction. Disney Parks revealed earlier this year that a plan was in place to re-theme Splash Mountain from its current Song of the South incarnation to something designed after The Princess and the Frog, and it seems that even more changes like this are planned in the future.
This weeks virtual conference by the IAAPA, the trade association for amusement parks, featured a keynote address by Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products Chairman Josh D'Amaro and he revealed (via BlogMickey) that the redesign of Splash Mountain is now being put on the fast track. Not only that, more changes or additions to the park are planned that will foster inclusion. D'Amaro said the Princess and the Frog update "isn’t the last. There will be more to come”
For decades the Disney company has based its employee training around the "four keys." Those have been safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Earlier this year, a fifth key was added, inclusion. The transition of Splash Mountain is one element of this new focus on inclusion. The ride's current theme, while not explicitly...problematic, from a race perspective, is related to a movie that has some serious problems in that regard, and the redesign to The Princess and the Frog was clearly chosen not only because it works thematically, but because that film features Disney's only African-American Princess character.
Josh D'Amaro did not give any examples of what other changes we might be in for, bur he made it clear that those changes are coming. It doesn't mean we will see more attractions entirely redesigned to be more inclusive, but it also doesn't count out that possibility.
And really, it shouldn't be all that shocking. Splash Mountain isn't even the first attraction to see these sorts of changes. Pirates of the Caribbean has been modified multiple times over the years, in order to better deal with the attractions gender depictions, most recently replacing the "wench auction" with a female pirate character, who might even be making her big screen debut before too long.
This also doesn't necessarily mean that we'll see a great deal more changes to existing attractions. We could just as easily see entirely new attraction's created. Of course, updating and replacing existing attractions is a standard part of what Walt Disney World and Disneyland do. In the end this just gives us an idea of the direction those updates and changes could be going.